SO often we take our freedom and democracy in South Africa for granted that we forget the plight of those, such as yourselves, in Zimbabwe.
I had the misfortune o
f visiting Zimbabwe on a mining exploration exercise on August 13-21. We (my family and I) were scheduled to visit the Victoria Falls and surrounding areas in the Mlibizi/Zambezi basin for a river boat experience.
Whilst we enjoyed the Victoria Falls and an excursion into Zambia, our experience in the small mining town of Kamativi (about 200 km from Hwange) left much to be desired.
From the information my family and I had, this tin mining town used to be a bustling metropolis for rural folk coming from Binga, Tinde and surrounding areas.
As the mine has since closed down, a number of small “co-operatives” still live off open-cast subsistence mining including tin and Tantalite (the latter being one of the minerals I have been contemplating harvesting).
As we approached Kamativi mine, we found the entrance to the mine (near a local police presence) barricaded with boom gates operated by what we later understood to be the notorious “Green Bombers”.
These Green Bombers in Kamativi not only manhandled myself and my wife, they even went through our food (helping themselves in the process), luggage and car. Had my wife not been there with me, I would have gladly fought for my rights (But then again, what rights did I have in Zimbabwe?).
To add insult to injury, the police presence there, about a couple of hundred metres away, did nothing to assist. If anything, they acted as if nothing was taking place.
Further to the above, I was searched and interrogated as if I was a spy, as if I had contraband that I was trying to smuggle into the mine.
Needless to say that we were not allowed access into the mine and, from folk we managed to talk to on our way back, the former tin mine is now being used as a training camp or base for these senseless monsters of a defunct regime.
Surely there has to be a way to get rid of your present dispensation with dignity?
The worst humiliation I was ever subjected to in South Africa during the apartheid days pales compared to what my family and I went through at Kamativi that day.
As I understand that the mine still has some local habitants there, I shudder to think of what these poor souls go through on a daily basis.
Does anyone know that this mine (judging by its remoteness and inaccessibility) is being used for such nefarious activities? That a population is being subjected to human rights abuses on a daily basis? That local women are probably (God forbid) being raped every day?
I realise a lot of issues still have to be resolved in your country and my heart goes out to you the people of Zimbabwe. But unless the local population does something rather than wait for a saviour, everyone is going to die of hunger sooner rather than later.